Christmas came early for the creative writing students at Christian Brothers Academy when Brian Fallon, lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem, held a special guest lecture. The Red Bank-born songwriter, on the cusp of beginning a national tour, took some time to speak with students after a truly impressive ask on social media.
How It Started
Fallon coming to CBA started as a conversation between students in Mr. Cusick’s creative writing class about who would make for a great guest speaker. Fallon’s name came up as many students were fans of the local rocker’s band. With the idea of asking nicely through social media, the students took to Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #FallonToCBA and inspiring fellow students, alumni, and even several media outlets to draw a spotlight to the cause. Several days and several hundred Twitter interactions later, Fallon (@thebrianfallon on Twitter) made his acceptance known, tweeting: “Dear @CBALincroft – get ready!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people have spoken!”
On Thursday, December 17, the dream became a reality with Fallon coming to speak to over 100 students.
“Finding That One Thing You Can Dedicate Your Life To”
Fallon covered the full gamut of topics, from the more serious like his musical career and sticking to his values, to the more humor-laden, like why not to get tattoos and trying to make a deal on Shark Tank. One of his central messages, and his challenge to our students, was to spend time over winter break finding that one special thing that they can dedicate their lives to. “The things he touched on about our future and how to live a meaningful life seemed to prepare me for the next four years and forever for that matter,” said Blaise Ferro, one of the many seniors destined for college next year.
Fallon knew from a young age, while seeing his mother sing at church, that he wanted to write and create music. Dedicating your life to the pursuit, he explained, is the real key to a chance at the blessings of success.
“These kids are awesome. They asked nicely, and the only thing cooler was how nicely Brian responded,” said Mr. Cusick. “The speech was great. The kids were great. Overall, I hope the experience was as unforgettable for these boys as it was for me.”
Fallon begins his national tour January 6th to promote his first solo album, Painkillers, due for release on March 11, 2016. Fallon was presented with a commemorative CBA shirt, and given an open invitation for future appearances. As for the students, a taste of the VIP treatment and the chance to speak with a firsthand rock-and-roller from Jersey won’t soon be forgotten.